Cy-Fair Hospital Encourages Women to Take an Active Role in Preventing Birth Defects 
Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital 
Monday, 12 January 2009 

If you are thinking about having a baby, don’t wait until the result of a home pregnancy test is positive to see a doctor. If possible, preconception planning should begin about a year before conception to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.

John Dogan, MD, OB/GYN on the medical staff at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital, encourages women to find out what to do and what to avoid when trying to get pregnant. “A woman should take care of her health both before conception and during pregnancy to ensure the optimal health of her baby,” advises Dr. Dogan. “Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle all contribute to giving your baby the best start at life.”

·                     See your doctor for a prenatal check-up. Health conditions that could pose a pregnancy risk such as high blood pressure or diabetes can be identified and managed. Make sure vaccinations are up-to-date because some diseases, such as chickenpox or rubella, can cause birth defects.

·                     “Start taking a daily vitamin supplement with 400 micrograms of folic acid to help your baby develop a healthy brain beginning at least one month prior to conception and continuing through the first trimester,” suggests Dr. Dogan. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains. Incorporate foods into your diet that are rich in calcium to help your baby build strong bones and teeth. Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks, including coffee, tea, and sodas. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking, and using drugs.

·                     Talk with female relatives about their pregnancies to determine if they had morning sickness or problems with labor. Find out if any health problems run in your family, such as cystic fibrosis (a disorder that affects the lungs and other organs) or hemophilia (a blood-clotting disorder).

“Women also should talk with their doctor about any medications they are taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter, and herbal supplements,” adds Dr. Dogan. “Some medications may seem safe, but could actually be quite dangerous, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that could increase the risk of miscarriage.”

To help promote healthy pregnancies and in recognition of January as National Birth Defects Prevention Month, Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital is offering a free Expecting Mom Pocket Guide. The handout includes information about what to expect during pregnancy, tips on how to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy, and how to prepare for the arrival of your new bundle of joy. For a complimentary copy call 1-800-681-2733.

The hospital recently announced the opening of an expanded Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where sick babies receive specialized treatment for birth defects, infections, breathing difficulties, growth restriction, and maternal health problems. The unit is staffed by highly skilled health care professionals trained to care for the specific needs of neonatal patients. The NICU contains 15 Level III nursery beds, including two isolation rooms and one private room, and 10 continuing care nursery beds, with two being private rooms. The unit is a controlled access department designed to ensure the safety and privacy of newborn patients and their families. The expansion also includes two private sleep rooms for parents featuring comfortable accommodations, modern décor, and flat screen televisions with “on-demand” features such as premium movies, information on hospital services, and limited Internet access.

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